Taiwanese minister waves goodbye to WiMAX

Taiwan’s WiMAX experiment is on a road to nowhere, a newly appointed minister has revealed.

Although the country has had working WiMAX for some time now, the subscription rates have not impressed and it will need to offer LTE in line with global trends.

A former Google exec who made it to minister, Simon Chang, said in an interview that LTE is most likely going to race past WiMAX in the country. 

Chang warned that a country-wide shift to LTE would leave operators who have already invested in WiMAX in the dark. There will also be the question of how to build the LTE networks using third parties as contractors. Taiwanese law says that potential 4G operators must be able to provide at least 70 percent coverage, which Chang concedes is a “technical problem”.

Last year, reports the Taipei Times, Taipei Computer Association chairman J T Wang said that the country’s six WiMAX operators should merge as they stand no chance of remaining competitive on their own merit. Since 2007, when they gained their licences, there have been only 133,067 subscribers by the end of last year.

WiMAX was Intel’s favourite 4G standard, once upon a time. After promising time and time again that the company “remains committed” to WiMAX, eventually it shifted to LTE. Taiwan, which thought it had Intel’s support, is finally waking up to LTE as the most likely network to go with.

Taiwan last month claimed to be network neutral.